Thursday, August 18, 2011

On The Lam - Reprise

Fugitive African Americans Fording the Rappahannock River. Rappahannock, Virginia, August 1862

It could be said of these slaves, who are now outlaws at least in the Confederacy, that they are "on the lam".

"On the lam" is not used much any more. "Lam" is an old word, coming into English with the Vikings who colonized the North of England and it is mainly connected to the idea of striking or beating or thrashing. Someone has suggested that "going on the lam" is akin to "beat it". If that is the case then it is slang deriving from other slang. "On the lam" is still apparently an outlaw phrase. At least most Americans have heard and understand it when it is used.
(Added this evening)

I have run into this all my life. When things get hairy, I lose stuff. I don't mean I lose stuff because things got hairy, not stuff obviously connected, but other stuff, even really weird stuff. The divorce is grinding along and something happens and all of a sudden I have clipped a car, grabbing the rear bumper by my license plate holder. That was just enough to break that car loose, caused a bad head on further down and I lost my license holder. I was in a place I would never have been had I not been losing my wife. I lost a bunch there even though the car came out okay and I wasn't even cited. The other driver was speeding way fast. It was obvious that was what had happened. But it still haunts me. More often the loss is simpler. Here it's shoes.

On The Lam

I lost my damn shoe,
Made it hard to toe the line
But I had to run
And it just came off.

When you run from the dope cops
Sometimes it happens
like that. Jumped fences,
Hid in back yards, under trucks,
Threw the other shoe
Away, saved my life.


Threw the other shoe away and saved my life....sacrifice as a sacred act under duress leads to divine intervention. Whether it really does or not, that is the intent of sacrifice, no matter when and where it appears in the spiritual walks that we do as people intent on a relationship with God. The price of that relationship is simply there. I have had a lifelong struggle with the cost of having God in my life. It seems a true thing. It happens in my life whether I like the idea or not. It is equally true that the idea of enforced loss revolts me, and I do revolt. Then when things happen too fast I end up inadvertently sacrificing, by accident. I just am not capable enough to keep my shit. Damn it.

Poem Written December 21, 2008
Commentary written and this blog First Posted, April 3, 2009

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